Energy shortages are having a severe impact on South Africa’s food industry, according to industry groups, with dairy farms unable to keep milk chilled and chickens suffocating in large numbers as ventilators go unusable.
According to the agricultural industry’s trade group AgriSA, record power outages have led to shortages of some essentials and threatened price increases that could make some popular items too expensive for low-income families.
The cost of food will be a problem for households with lower incomes, especially since chicken is one of the least expensive protein staples in the nation, according to Kulani Siweya, chief economist for AgriSA.
Load-shedding, or scheduled blackouts, have plagued Africa’s most industrialized economy for years as a result of state-owned energy company Eskom’s inability to keep up with demand and maintain its deteriorating coal power infrastructure.
But over the past 12 months, the outages increased to new heights.
Herman Du Preez, a poultry farmer, claimed that at least 40,000 of his chickens died last week from asphyxiation as a result of the ventilation system on the farm failing due to power outages.
At his farm in the North West province on Monday, Du Preez said, “It wasn’t a pretty sight to see how much money we lost because Eskom is so unreliable.
Power outages have also slowed down slaughterhouse operations, resulting in “shortages” of chicken, according to Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the South African Poultry Association.
According to Siweya of AgriSA, “The milk industry is also experiencing difficulties with the processing of their milk and the load shedding does affect their cold storage facilities.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa stated in a newsletter on Monday that he was aware of the “farmers that are unable to keep their produce fresh” due to blackouts.
However, he made no assurances that the planned cuts would be stopped any time soon.
“We need to be honest about the difficulties we face and what it will take to overcome them. Even though we all want to stop load shedding immediately, “He composed.
Due to South Africa’s unprecedented power outages, some essentials are in short supply, and price increases are threatening to push some popular goods out of the reach of low-income families’ budgets.